I Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Jun 28 2022

Every client comes to me with a different knowledge base about publishing. Fiction authors typically have a better understanding of the process than nonfiction authors. They’ve been writing for longer and connected with other writers and groups during that time. That being said, I don’t assume anything about new clients. I don’t know what they know, and I don’t pretend to.

What that means is that I’m open to questions. Lots and lots of questions. I don’t give a full publishing tutorial when a client signs. That would be extremely boring for both of us, but I do try to give information on what to expect each step of the way. That being said, to reiterate, I don’t know what you don’t know. I don’t want to launch into a publishing 101 lecture if you already know that, or if you aren’t interested.

Instead, I think it’s important for authors to be open and honest and lead the way with what they need to know.

Your New Job

When you sign with an agent and start your career in publishing think of it as starting a new job. You know what you were brought in to do (write the book) but you don’t necessarily understand the intricacies of how this new company (the agency) works or even how the industry works. In order to succeed you have to ask a lot of questions.

Some of them you’ll ask ahead of time, probably even in the agent interview. Others are better as you hit each step:

  1. Now that the manuscript revisions are done what’s next?
  2. What should I be doing while you submit?
  3. Have we heard from editors yet?
  4. Is this time frame/response/experience normal?
  5. How involved do you (the agent) want to be in my next book?
  6. What happens when we get an offer?
  7. What happens now that we sold the book?
  8. When do I get the contract?
  9. What’s next?
  10. What should I even be asking?

Obviously this list isn’t exhaustive. It’s not meant to be. The purpose is to let you know that these are questions I’ve been asked time and time again. Questions you’re not alone in asking and wanting to know.

So ask because I don’t know that you know until we’ve discussed it.




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